Alphas episode 8 review: A Short Time In Paradise

The Alphas discover that reworking old plots with familiar faces isn't a recipe for TV success. Here’s Billy’s review of episode 8, A Short Time In Paradise…

This review contains spoilers.

8. A Short Time In Paradise

I’d like to tell you about how Alphas is getting progressively better each week, and that the characters are becoming more interesting. But alas, much of the good work in the last few stories was unceremoniously undone this week, with a wholly nonsensical outing.

A Short Time In Paradise was by far the worst story so far, as they rehashed a story about cult abduction that’s older than the TV drama itself. It reminded me strongly of a poor Dollhouse story, episode five if I’m not mistaken, which had almost exactly the same plot and outcome.

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While attending his alcohol dependency meetings, Cameron meets Jonas, played by Garret Dillahunt (currently in Raising Hope, previously in The Sarah Connor Chronicles), who thinks he’s an angel. The problem is that everyone thinks he’s got a hotline to God, once he’s used his power on them, which has ultimately fatal consequences for those exposed.

I like Dillahunt. He’s brilliant in Raising Hope, but here, he turns out the same emotionless John Henry character that he used in Terminator. I’m also slightly bemused as to why he needed to do this gig, when he’s a show regular elsewhere.

Soon, Cameron is under Jonas’ control, and so is Nina. Later, Jonas and Nina indulge in blurry sex, which is always the best type to have in these situations, and on this channel. What utter trash.

But then, I got a warning right at the outset that this wasn’t going to be the Alphas’ finest moment, as in the opening scene we see a young boy struggle to bring a fifty-five gallon drum full of some flammable liquid into the cultists’ chapel. It would be a struggle for almost anyone, because to my reckoning, that container should weigh in the order 480lbs, and super strength definitely isn’t the boy’s power.

It also ended rather stupidly, when Doctor Rosen gets to chuck the Hippocratic oath out of the window, and shoots someone dead. Given that he was trying to stop that person igniting yet more followers with copious amounts of what looks like petroleum, the idea of using a firearm seems utterly ridiculous, as discharging it pretty much guarantees an ignition source.

However, this was all necessary, because in his first scene, Rosen declared he’s never used a gun, which lets us know that, by the end of the show, he’d be doing just that. Such telegraphed insertions only serve to make me wonder when the writer’s box of obvious clichés will ever be empty, so often are its contents plundered.

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The only chink of light anywhere to be see here was some mild improvement in circumstances for Rachel, although that she’s forced to take advice from Gary does hint at how far down the road she’s gone to get help.

As opposed to a short time in paradise, this story seemed like a much longer period in somewhere warmer and with a distinctly sulphurous fragrance, and I’d like to try and forget it as rapidly as possible.

Thankfully, the next story doesn’t air until 9th September, so I’ve got some extra time to achieve that memory erasure. After plundering the cast of Terminator, the Alphas’ next target is Star Trek: The Next Generation, as they’ve invited Brent Spiner on the show. Let’s hope he’s more entertaining, and that the story is much stronger than this one.

Read our review of episode 7, Catch And Release, here.

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